Despite economic gloom, vendors expect a good show

 - 
Thursday, September 30, 2004

ORLANDO - Medtrade exhibitors anticipate steady booth traffic, high interest in their wares and an abundance of networking opportunities at the show this year. Anything less would be a disappointment, they say, despite the lingering cloud of economic uncertainty.

To Seth Klein, president of Valley Cottage, N.Y.-based Complete Medical Supplies, the show continues to be a strong venue for meeting customers. If anything, the potentially stringent times that lay ahead mean providers are increasingly looking for cost-effective sales and marketing options like Klein’s Web site creation business.

“Demand is high and there’s good reason for it – it’s an inexpensive, totally comprehensive e-commerce shopping Web site just for dealers and resellers,” he said. “We can put a dealer in business overnight.”

So far, Klein has set up 300 dealer Web sites and the key to his strategy is getting them listed in the Google search engine’s Top 10.

“We’re helping them get ranked for the products they focus on,” he said. “There’s an angle to it and we’ve been successful so far. The tough part about Google, though, is that things change constantly. What you do today may not work tomorrow.”

Providers will also be seeking out new product niches as a way to sharpen their competitiveness. For DuWayne Kramer, president of Kansas City-based Burke Tri-Flex, that means promoting one of the fastest-growing specialty segments in medical supply today: Bariatrics.

“We’re expecting a lot of interest from dealers because it’s a hot category right now,” Kramer said. “These products also provide more margin for them.”

One of the new products Burke will be showcasing is a bariatric drive bed, which Kramer contends is so responsive that the caregiver can steer it with a finger.

“It alleviates the need to make transfers,” he said.

If the punitive regulatory environment does cast a pall on this year’s Medtrade, it won’t be due to a lack of industry outreach, noted Mark Miller, marketing director for Exeter, Pa.-based Pride Mobility.

“I’m actually sensing a more positive climate right now,” he said. “We’ve been working very closely with legislators and CMS to get our message across. There have been some challenges, and we’ve reached some favorable solutions. We will continue to educate legislators and CMS to ensure that everything that is developed is in the best interest of the client, providers, suppliers and payers.”

Links: